SINGAPORE (AFP) - Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed bin Hammam began his new four-year term as a FIFA executive committee member this week keen to mend fences with his most ardent critics.
But, as the dust settles on one of the most bitter election campaigns seen in football, he insists he will never change his controversial style of leadership.
So disillusioned were almost half of the AFC's 46 member nations in the way the Qatari runs the regional football body that they voted against him last Friday at their congress in a key show of dissent.
They said he was a dictator, that there was no transparency in what he was doing and argued that local football associations were not getting enough money.
At the forefront of the criticism were two powerful and influential men -- FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-Joon and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) president Sheikh Ahmad Al Sabah.
Despite vicious personal attacks on him, Bin Hammam is keen to forgive and forget, conscious that if he doesn't repair the relationships the battle for power will start again ahead of the next congress in two years.
Then, his presidency will be at stake.
"I have no problems with the remarks Chung made," he said, referring to the Hyundai scion publicly declaring Bin Hammam had mental problems and ran the AFC like a criminal.
"Chung is one of the people who I would like to restart relations with for the good of Asia," he added.
Sheikh Ahmad, who also heads the Kuwait Football Association, stepped up his rhetoric after the Qatari accused him and the OCA of vote-buying.
The matter was referred to FIFA's ethics committee but Bin Hammam suggested he was no longer interested in pursuing the claims of corruption, which were denied.
"I'm not going to act as the sport's police for the world," he said.
"I just want to refocus and look forward. It is better for me to leave the past behind and start a new page.
"The past is the past and we all have to think about the future of Asian football from now on."
But he still has some key unresolved business, notably changing the statutes so that the AFC president automatically becomes FIFA vice-president -- a position Chung currently holds.
The AFC and Latin America are the only continental bodies that do not apply this principle and Bin Hammam won support from FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
"Whoever is president of FIFA, it is better for him to have vice presidents as heads of confederations. It is easier to work together and better for the good of the game," said Blatter.
While Bin Hammam wants to build bridges, he insists he will not change the way he does business.
"I am definitely not going to change my style," he said. "I have full democracy and transparency in the way I act as president. I respect the rules."
With the budget for the next four years approved by the congress he will now press on with his vision for the future, which he said had developing the AFC Champions League at its forefront.
Bin Hammam believes that only through improving top level club football will more sponsor money start flowing into the AFC coffers.
The Champions League was revamped this year, expanding from 28 to 32 teams and with stricter participation criteria to raise standards.
At stake is 20 million dollars in prize money, dwarfing the four million available in 2008.
|Benitez denies Callejon spat|
|Brownhill stunner downs Burnley|
|Sunderland edge out Recreativo|
|Barton and Hoilett earn QPR draw|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Lafata treble puts Sparta in command, Slovan beat Sheriff|
|Gomis opens Swansea account at Exeter|
|Schneiderlin hints at Southampton discontent|
|Scolari makes Gremio return|
|Bojan strike in vain as Schalke beat Stoke|
|Tevez to miss friendly amid kidnap reports|
|Porto sign Jose Angel from Roma|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Trencin v Hull City|
|Liverpool land Origi|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Torino return to Europe after 20-year absence|
|Rodriguez and Schneiderlin not for sale, say Southampton|
|Rakitic: Not all about front three|
|Barkley pens new Everton deal|
|Guardiola relishing Chivas friendly|
|Drogba targets Premier League glory|
|Hull make Maguire and Robertson double swoop|
|Perisic blow for Wolfsburg|
|Ibrahimovic scores hat-trick as PSG hammer Kitchee|
|Al-Hilal coach sacked over referee row|
|La Liga boss wants cream of the crop|
|Valencia granted work permit, completes West Ham move|
|Atletico complete deal for Griezmann|
|Reus focused on fitness battle despite ´major European interest´|
|Barcelona announce club-record revenue|
|Bony could be sold for right price, says Jenkins|
|Confidence key for Newcastle, says Taylor|
|Saivet out for four weeks with knee injury|
|Genk part company with Ferrera after just one game of season|
|Gold clarifies Twitter gaffe|
|Vidic adapting to different style at Inter|
|Toulouse bring in Matheus|
|Butragueno backs Rodriguez to cope with pressure|
|Benteke aiming to come back stronger|
|Valdez joins Frankfurt|
|Jovetic ready to shine|
|Simeone hails Griezmann qualities|
|Monk unsure over De Guzman future|
|Benitez: Michu will take time to adjust|
|Diaby confident of staying fit|
|Shaw not fit enough, says Van Gaal|
|MLS Preview: RSL look for attacking spark|
|Monk slaps ´astronomical´ price on Bony´s head|
|Australian clubs looking at Ronaldinho|
|Sinclair enjoying ´one of the best pre-seasons´|
|Spiranovic surgery a success|
|Seattle Sounders 0 Los Angeles Galaxy 3: First-half blitz fires Californians to victory|
|Lemina thrilled with Bielsa effect|
|Bayern´s Green chomping at the bit|
|Palace complete US tour with easy win|
|Carragher: Liverpool didn´t want me|
|Simeone: Atleti´s La Liga triumph was no fluke|
|Sturridge: ´I´ll step up´|
|Van Gaal: Formation gives United flexibility|
|Mathieu insists age is no barrier|
|Martinez the deal sealer, says Besic|
|Coaches embrace blockbuster Serie A start|
|Ronaldinho to leave Atletico Mineiro|
|Lorient capture Ayew|
|Celtic loan Berget, sell Watt|
|Pires signs up for Indian Super League|
|Allegri set for early San Siro reunion in maiden Juve campaign|
|Bakayoko makes Monaco move|
|Bakayoko makes Monaco move|
|Lens granted Ligue 1 place|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Red-hot Salzburg face Qarabag|
|Parma bring in Cassani from Fiorentina|
|De Vrij set for Lazio|
|BREAKING NEWS: Everton complete Besic signing|
|Kongolo pens Feyenoord extension|
|Redknapp confirms Granero exit|
|Advocaat confirmed as Serbia coach|
|CSL Preview: Henan aim to escape drop zone, Liaoning host Guangzhou RandF|
|Arribas makes Sevilla switch|
|Chambers joins Arsenal|
|Ospina buoyed by Arsenal recruitment|
|Liverpool´s loss is our gain, says Redknapp on Remy|
|Ferdinand: I would still be at United with Giggs in charge|
|Pepe targets Super Cup glory|
|Martinez prioritising striker signing|
|Perez not looking to leave Benfica|
|Klopp itching to work with full Dortmund squad|
|Mourinho: It feels like Drogba never left|
|FIFA asks for FIGC review into alleged racist remark|
|Hull to review Maguire deal|
|Wenger prepared to gamble on Chambers|
|Atletico agree Griezmann deal|
|Irvine planning further striker addition|
|Campbell: Black professionals scared to talk about racism|
|Mata backs Herrera to star in Premier League|
|Injured Rafael returning to Manchester|
|Schmidt demands more from Leverkusen|
|Copa Libertadores Preview: Defensor Sporting banking on home record|
|Remy´s Liverpool move off, confirms Rodgers|
|Inzaghi demands nastiness from Milan|
|MLS Review: Timbers triumph in Montreal, Dallas thwart Vancouver|
|Jovetic ready to lead City line - Pellegrini|
|Lewandowski impresses Ribery, Alaba|
|Colombian Primera A Review: Three clubs remain perfect, Atletico Nacional get off the mark|
|Rodgers: ´We can score goals´ without Suarez|
|Chilean Primera Division Review: Canales brace powers Universidad Chile|
|Atletico Madrid need penalties to edge past Earthquakes|
|Liga MX Review: Monterrey, America stay perfect|
|Paraguayan Primera Division Review: Capiata set pace|
|Brazilian Serie A Review: Cruzeiro win again, Kaka scores|
|Sterling goal sees Liverpool past Olympiacos|
|Peruvian Primera Division Review: Los Caimanes notch maiden win, Inti Gas claim top spot|
|CAF Champions League Review: Zamalek held, Vita Club leave it late|
|Jovetic at the double as Manchester City thrash Milan|